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Today in Christian History
German reformer Martin Luther stated in his Disputation at Heidelberg: 'Grace is given to heal the spiritually sick, not to decorate spiritual heroes.'
George Herbert is appointed by the Earl of Pembroke to the parishes of Fugglestone St Peter and Bemerton St Andrew, near Salisbury. There he will write notable Christian poetry and preach sermons comprehensible to a rural audience.
(Uncertain date; April 24 is also often given.) Death of Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe and Journal of the Plague Year, works of fiction noted for their versimilitude, which he wrote from a Puritan non-conformist point of view. He had been hiding from creditors and was found dead, hence the uncertainty of the date of his death. Two centuries after Defoe's death, Neesima Shimeta, a Japanese youth, will be converted to Christianity through reading Robinson Crusoe.
Birth of Horatio R. Palmer, American Congregational clergyman. From his books of religious verse came two hymns which are still sung today: "Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts" and "My Faith Looks Up to Thee."
German missionary Ernst Faber arrives in Hong Kong where he will help create a Chinese-Christian literature by having Chinese associates write their own books in consultation with him. He also will work with Chinese officials to import and apply European technology in China.
Residents of Minnesota observe a statewide day of prayer, set by Governor John Sargent Pillsbury, imploring deliverance from a plague of grasshoppers that has been ravaging their crops. Many families are on the verge of starvation. In the next two days warm weather will cause millions of larvae to wiggle to life and skeptics scoff; but a plunge in temperature on the fourth day will freeze and kill them. A chapel will be built at Cold Spring to commemorate the miracle.
The Roman Catholic religious program "Life is Worth Living" aired for the last time over Dumont television. Premiering in 1952, it was hosted by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, who won an Emmy during its first year of broadcast for being "the most outstanding personality" on television.
English apologist C.S. Lewis wrote in "Letters to an American Lady": 'One of the many reasons for wishing to be a better Christian is that, if one were, one's prayers for others might be more effectual.'
Emmanuel Oladele Agboola is unanimously elected to chair the 56th annual session of the Nigerian Baptist Convention in acknowledgment of his hard work and zeal for souls. His contemporaries recognize him as one of Nigeria's greatest indigenous pastors and educators as well as a humble and kind man.
Azmy Mokhtar Aziz, a Coptic Christian, is murdered in the city of Malawy, one of several Copts targeted there this year.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"